Seed World

Government Announcement – UPOV 1991

Government Announces CSTA Funding and PBR Legislation Changes

Canada’s seed industry has received a boost to promote trade and reduce non-tariff trade barriers thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced an investment of more than $100,000 for the Canadian Seed Trade Association at the organization’s semi-annual meeting held Nov. 13, 2014 in Winnipeg, Man.

The investment will support the CSTA’s work on the world stage to develop international consensus on issues that affect the trade of seed, as well as working with foreign regulators and policy-makers to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade. This will lead to improving the international rules governing the trade of seed and set the foundation for increased export sales for Canadian producers.

Minister Ritz also addressed the issue of plant breeders’ rights in Canada by stating that in order to keep up with industry growth and new technologies, legislative changes are needed. “We are looking at bringing UPOV 1991 onto the legislative agenda after the Christmas break,” said Ritz.

UPOV, or the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The convention was adopted in Paris in 1961 and was revised in 1972, 1978 and 1991. UPOV’s mission is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants. Canada’s present Plant Breeders’ Rights Act is based on the 1978 UPOV convention.

Ritz noted that UPOV 1991 would be part of upcoming parliamentary discussions in legislative sessions. “I would like to see it adopted by Canada … by the new crop year, Aug. 1, 2014,” said Ritz. “To draw investment into new varieties, change is needed.”

UPOV 1991 contains some new elements that provide stronger protection for plant breeders than any of the previous conventions, according to information provided on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website. “Right now, if farmers sign a contract, they cannot save seed,” said Ritz. “Under UPOV 1991 you can save seed, however, if you sign a contract it still needs to be honoured.”

For more information on UPOV 1991, click here.